All eyes are on the Malaysia vs Japan showdown to determine the Group D champions of the Thomas Cup after England pulled out of the biennial competition due to injuries.
That means Group D contains both these nations along with minnows Canada.
Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president Norza Zakaria said the national team’s focus would be trained on trying to overcome Japan.
“We will fully focus on Japan. We have to be realistic as our players have gone through a lot of matches at the Sudirman Cup.
“It may have left them fatigued, but I don’t think it’s right to revise the target as we don’t want to put pressure on them,” he was quoted saying by Bernama.
Malaysia lost twice to Japan at the recent Sudirman Cup.
Once again, a revitalised Lee Zii Jia is expected to lead the side at this team event as the first men’s singles shuttler against world number one Kento Momota.
The other men’s singles shuttlers in the squad are Cheam June Wei, Aidil Sholeh, Ng Tze Yong and Leong Jun Hao.
As for the men’s doubles, Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik will aim to avenge their Sudirman Cup semis loss to Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi.
Besides them, the other pairs who can fill the second men’s doubles slot are both Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin or Tee Kai Wun-Man Wei Chong.
National coaching director Wong Choong Hann said the national team would try their hardest for the upcoming team event in Aarhus, Denmark, to emulate a podium finish at the Sudirman Cup.
“It’s another platform for us to field our other young shuttlers. It will be up to the coaches to devise the best strategy for the competition.
“We must also take into account the other upcoming events right after the Thomas & Uber Cup, and try to ensure our shuttlers stay injury free,” he said.
The jam-packed calendar will see most of the elite national shuttlers remaining in Europe for the Denmark Open (October 19-24), French Open (October 26-31), HYLO Open in Germany (November 2-7).